From the Editor

by Craig Stark

#23, 19 July 2004

This is a time, I think, to feel good about bookselling. Fall is only a matter of weeks away, and barring another sky-falling event, I'm looking forward to strong sales from September to Christmas - for that matter, moving into January and the rest of 2005. The economy is recovering nicely, statistics show that consumer trust in the online marketplace continues to grow, and you and I are getting book-smarter by the moment. And more able to compete because of it.

In this outpost of Paradise, I've noticed some other positive changes as well. Prices at estate sales, moving sales and garage sales have fallen noticeably (though the opposite trend seems to be taking place at FOL sales and some chain thrift shops). Also, the competition for books seems to have fallen off. Not sure why this is, nor do I know if it's simply a local phenomenon or if it applies to other items as well, but it could be that the eBay honeymoon is losing its glow. I don't doubt that many sellers who entered the eBay marketplace in the past year or two have either scaled back their operations or stopped selling altogether. It isn't easy to jump into online selling today and make a fast buck. It takes time to figure out how it's done, also lots of work, and it could be that this reality has discouraged many new sellers. Could be eBay itself discouraged many sellers, and I don't have to tell you why!

Whatever the case, if things are slow for you now and you have some time to spare, this might be a good time to look at some things that might be costing you time. Upgrade your efficiency now, and it could pay big dividends when things get moving again. Today I'm going to look at textual content in auction and fixed-price listings. If your content is sparse or if you're spending huge amounts of time getting information from a book into a listing, you might want to consider making some of the changes suggested in our feature article, "Finding the Time to Save Time." Also, at long last, plans for a book scanning jig appear in the second article. For those not inclined to make one, we'll send you a BookThink original, handcrafted in the BookThink shop, for only $14.99. [Note: The scanning jig is not longer available.] More details are below.

If you haven't subscribed to BookThink's Gold Edition yet, there's still time to take advantage of our half-price offer. Charter subscriptions are available for $10 annually through July 31, 2004. Our first issue of the Gold Edition is scheduled to appear on August 2. We'll examine a strong, up and coming niche market - in detail. Thanks for your strong support of BookThink. Stop in and see us sometime in the forum.

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